Pentek’s New L-Band RF Tuner XMC Module Offers Improved Bandwidth and Precision for SATCOM and Communications Applications



  • Maxim MAX2121 L-Band RF tuner boosts output bandwidth to 123 MHz
  • Faster 500 MHz 12-bit A/Ds capture full signal bandwidth
  • Improved signal quality with digital down converter IP modules
  • Custom Virtex-7 IP development with GateFlow Design Kit and Vivado tools
  • Advanced GateXpress technology for FPGA reconfiguration across PCIe

Pentek, Inc., today announced the newest member of its highly popular Onyx® family of high-performance XMC FPGA modules. The Onyx Model 71791 XMC module is an L-Band RF tuner with two 500 MHz A/Ds based on the high density Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA. The Model 71791 is designed for connection directly to SATCOM or communications system L-band signals.

“Communications engineers reap the benefits of this module with new wider bandwidths, higher A/D sampling rates and the inclusion of digital down converters (DDCs) allowing for IF to baseband conversion for more accurate demodulation,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president and co-founder of Pentek. “This single board solution contains the LNA, RF tuner, digitizer and DDC all in one software radio and data acquisition module,” he added.

RF Tuner Stage

A front panel SSMC connector accepts L-Band signals between 925 MHz and 2175 MHz, typically from an L-Band antenna or an LNB (low noise block). With its programmable LNA, the Maxim MAX2121 tuner directly converts these L-Band signals to IF or baseband using a broadband I/Q analog downconverter followed by 123 MHz low pass anti-aliasing filters.

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Pentek’s New RF L-Band Tuner for SATCOM and Communications Applications

The two analog tuner outputs are digitized by two Texas Instruments ADS5463 500 MHz 12-bit A/D converters to capture the full 123 MHz bandwidth, three times that of Pentek’s previous L-Band tuners.

For best performance, the analog outputs of the MAX2121 can be used in the IF mode instead of the analog baseband I+Q mode. In this case, each A/D converter digitizes an IF signal and then delivers it to a DDC to produce perfectly balanced complex I+Q digital baseband samples for enhanced demodulation performance.

Pentek Performance Acquisition and DDC IP Modules

The Model 71791 features two Acquisition IP modules to easily capture and move data. Each module can receive data from either of the two A/Ds or a test signal generator. Each Acquisition IP module contains a powerful DDC IP core with decimation values from 2 to 64k, covering a wide range of signal bandwidths. Because of flexible input routing within the Acquisition IP modules, many different configurations can be achieved including one A/D driving both DDCs or each of the two A/Ds driving its own DDC.

An additional benefit of using the IF analog output mode is that two independent A/D and DDC channels are now available for digitizing and downconverting two signals with different center frequencies and bandwidths.

Boosting Performance with the Onyx Architecture

Architectural enhancements in the Onyx family include 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory and a Gen 3 PCIe interface, delivering peak transfer rates up to 8 GB/sec. The Virtex-7 is very power efficient making it easier to utilize larger FPGAs for adding user supplied IP. Optional LVDS and gigabit serial connections to the Virtex-7 are available for connecting to custom high performance I/O.

Development Tools and Software Support

The Pentek GateFlow® FPGA design kit gives users access to the complete factory installed IP at the source code level, allowing them to extend or even replace the built-in functions using the Xilinx Vivado® Design Suite. Compared to the older Xilinx ISE tools, Vivado implements custom IP designs up to 4 times faster with a 20% better design density.

Pentek’s GateXpress® PCIe configuration manager supports dynamic FPGA reconfiguration through software commands as part of the runtime application. This provides an efficient way to quickly reload the FPGA to slash development time. For deployed environments, GateXpress enables reloading the FPGA without the need to reset the host system, ideal for applications that require dynamic access to multiple processing IP algorithms.

Pentek’s ReadyFlow® Board Support Package is available with drivers for Windows and Linux operating systems. The ReadyFlow C-callable library contains a complete suite of initialization, control and status functions, as well as a rich set of precompiled, ready-to-run-examples to accelerate application development.

With a Pentek 8266 SPARK PC or 8267 SPARK VPX development system, work can begin immediately on applications. The SPARK system saves engineers the time and expense associated with building and testing a development system and ensures optimum performance of Pentek boards. All SPARK development systems come with software and hardware installed and ready for immediate operation.

Form Factors, Pricing and Availability

The Cobalt Model 71791 XMC is designed for commercial, rugged or conduction cooled operating environments. It is also available in several form factors, including 3U and 6U VPX (Models 52791/53791 and 57791/58791); 3U and 6U cPCI (Models 72791/73791/74791); AMC (Model 56791); and PCIe (Model 78791).
About Pentek

Pentek, an ISO 9001:2008 certified company, designs, manufactures and markets innovative COTS and rugged DSP boards and system recorders for commercial, government and military

systems, including radar, communications, medical and industrial control applications. Pentek offers powerful VME, VPX, VXS, FMC, XMC, cPCI, PCIe and AMC boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek’s high-speed real-time recording systems are pre-configured and can be used in the lab or deployed in the field. Pentek equips all boards and recorder products with high-performance I/O including gigabit serial interfaces, powerful software development tools and offers strong DSP software support.

Contact Information

Pentek

One Park Way
Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458
USA

tele: 201-818-5900
fax: 201-818-5904
sales@pentek.com
www.pentek.com/

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